A/N: Hi everyone. Time to wrap it up. This is short and to the point and not what you think will happen. You will be surprised by the end. Enjoy!
Anko and Kakashi spend the rest of the morning and part of the afternoon and early evening experimenting on each other, even managing to "test the waters" in the tub together once, even though that proved a little more difficult – and messy – than they'd thought it would be.
After having a light supper, they decided to turn in early. Both were spent from their day of play, and thought it best to get some sleep. They climbed into bed together and were quiet for a few minutes.
Kakashi said, "How do I ever repay you for everything you've done for me?"
Anko said, "That's what friends do right?"
Kakashi had had about enough of this "friends" thing. It was starting to be the only thing Anko referred to them as. So he told her, "Will you quit the "friends" thing already?"
"Why? We're friends right?"
Kakashi paused, and then said, "I don't know what we are. Have you thought about it? I mean, really thought about this whole thing?"
Yes. "A little."
"What the hell are we doing?"
Anko looked at him and said, "I for one am enjoying the hell out of you and your so called benefits."
Kakashi had to agree with that one. "Yeah, me too. Never mind. I don't know what I'm thinking. I guess I'm just getting pre-occupied with reporting in tomorrow. Tsunade's probably going to turn me right back around and march me out on another mission. Who knows how long I'll be gone this time."
Anko thought about what he said. He'll be gone again, or I'll be gone, and we won't be able to have our friendly little games anymore. What if he comes back again, all torn to pieces like he was yesterday? What if he doesn't come back at all? It was then that Anko decided that she couldn't bear the thought of going through that kind of hurt again. She never wanted to see Kakashi in pain again. But how could she live without him in her life? Quietly she said, "I'm afraid."
"What? You? Anko? Afraid? You're not afraid of anything."
"Yes I am. I'm afraid you'll be gone again and you'll come home worse the next time."
"Anko there's also a chance that I'll be fine. You know I don't always come home injured. We're shinobi, it's part of the job. Sometimes we come home fine,"
She sat up with horrible images in her mind, "Sometimes we come home in a box or not at all! What would you do if it were me next time? What if I showed up on your doorstep, late getting back from a mission, beaten to a bloody pulp and propped up against your door? Would you even worry while I was gone? Would you miss me?" Anko's emotions poured out of her and the hurt that had been quieted roared back to life.
Kakashi stared at her as her words sank in. First he was angry at the thought of anyone touching her, let alone hurting her. He thought I'd hunt down and kill anyone who put their hands on you in anger. Anyone who caused you pain would not live another day. I'd tear them apart with my bare hands and watch them die if they so much as laid a finger on you. Then Kakashi realized that he had begun to care too much. The memories of all the people he'd loved and lost came to the forefront. It seemed he was about to lose another one.
Quietly he said, "I worried about you when I was gone. I didn't care about myself, but I kept thinking about how I wanted to get back here. I'd promised I would. I kept my promise. And one other thing,"
Anko looked at him and said, "What?"
He looked away from her and said, "I missed you before I even left."
Anko thought what is he saying? I missed him too, but he missed me BEFORE he left? Oh dear God no. I can't do this. This hurts way too much.
Anko looked at him and said, "I really need a friend right now. But I don't think our "friends with benefits" thing is going to work anymore."
Kakashi looked torn, "Why? Why not?"
"Because I can't bear it if you were suddenly gone from my life."
Kakashi said, "So you're saying, you'd rather be alone than be my friend?"
Anko thought NO! I want to be WITH you, but if I try, and you get hurt or God forbid – die on me, I'd die from that kind of pain. She said, "I think you're proof that being alone hurts less than losing someone does." She knew that what she said was cruel and it cut Kakashi deeply, but she had to say it to make her point. She had to tell him in a way he'd understand. From the look on his face, he understood completely.
"Is that really what you want?"
Her thoughts screamed NO! NO! NO! NO, but her mouth said, "Yes. I think it's best."
Kakashi was silent. Then he got out of bed and looked around the room for his things. He gathered up his sweats and tank top, his mask and the remains of his uniform. He was getting ready to leave. He couldn't understand what went so wrong. But he did understand how painful it was to lose someone – he'd lost everyone in his life he'd ever cared about. If he lost her . . .
Anko watched him, as she sat on her bed with her knees drawn up to her chest, not wanting to believe that he was really leaving. But she'd practically sent him away. He was only doing what she wanted him to do. Then why did she hurt worse than ever? She wanted to stop him, beg him to stay, do whatever it took to make it work between them, so nobody got hurt. Instead, she knew this was the right thing to do to spare her the pain and hurt that she'd have to endure in the future. So she let him go.
Kakashi got his things together and prepared to leave. He stopped and looked at her before he opened the door to let himself out. He said, "I don't care what you say, you're still my friend. Good bye Anko." He walked out the door closing it after him.
Anko put her head on her knees and wept with a hurt she'd never felt before in her life. Their "friendship" was officially over.
A/N: Sometimes in life, things don't end happy. This is a first for me - an unhappy ending. But this is the way this story turned out. There was still hurt to be felt - the hurt of being alone again. But don't worry, there's one more story in this series, and it's called "Deal." It picks up where this one left off. Thanks for reading and reviewing, and I'll see you soon!